By J. Parker-Starbuck
This booklet articulates the 1st theoretical context for a 'cyborg theatre,' metaphorically integrating on-stage our bodies with the technologized, digitized, or mediatized, to re-imagine subjectivity for a post-human age. It covers a number of examples, to suggest new theoretical instruments for figuring out functionality in our altering global.
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Extra resources for Cyborg Theatre: Corporeal/Technological Intersections in Multimedia Performance
Embodiment appears widely in descriptions of body-based art and performance, often in hopeful counterbalance and corrective to the universal (male) “liberal humanist subject,” and an embodied post-humanism is perhaps well served through theatre’s grounding in both incorporation and inscription to uncover the “experiential” Hayles describes. The cyborg of this project takes up a version of the post-human that recognizes both the possibilities and the problems of technological incorporation – we are not yet “jacking in” and leaving our bodies behind.
In an historic sense, emerging technologies – whether conveyer belts or reproductive technologies, video chat programs or burgeoning virtual reality forms – are often rehearsed through narratives of corporeal representation. In the examples I have cited thus far, as well as in many later twentieth-century representations of the cyborg, these rehearsals have frequently been staged at moments of eruption in feminist history. The cyborg form appears during times in need of balance, times of chaos and confusion, and so, perhaps coincidentally, concurrent with waves of feminism, yet it also appears as a means of addressing disappearing, augmented, or controlled bodies in society.
9 The bio-woman mistress/fiancée and mechanized, idealized woman recur in this tale, now created by the semi-fictional inventor “Thomas Edison,” interweaving reality and fiction and celebrating the technical proficiency of such inventions through long, detailed descriptions of the make-up of the automata body. The clockwork innards are here replaced with more sophisticated technologies of (the “real” Edison’s) phonographic recording technologies onto which her words are recorded (words incidentally replicating the words of “great” men).